Queer News On Campus [QNOC] Articles Digest
For the week ending 2009.03.08
Brought to you by the Consortium of Higher Education LGBT Resource Professionals. http://www.lgbtcampus.org
Archives of the QNOC Digest can be found at http://queernewsoncampus.blogspot.com
Reminder: If you come across articles that should be included in the digest, please email a link to the article to firstname.lastname@example.org
1. Diamondback Online - For lesbian couple, a sense of equality looms
2. Los Angeles Times - Lawsuit over gay-marriage speech at L.A. City College spurs reactions
3. Yale Daily News - Gender neutral housing on hold
4. The Michigan Daily - Robert Soave: Allied for LGBT acceptance
5. The GW Hatchet – OPINION: The right decision
6. The Edge Boston - Opinions At University Differ Over Gay Student’s NROTC Dismissal
7. 1010wins.com - Montclair University Student Protests Ban on Donating Blood
8. TCU Daily Skiff - SGA approves support for campus LGBT community
9. Tufts Daily - Posters spark discussion
10. Pink News - LGBT university staff and students face 'high levels' of discrimination
11. Daily Queer News - IL: College Fraternities and Sororities Not Easy for Gays, Lesbians
12. Associated Press - 2 Fla. students challenge school's gay club ruling
13. Spartan Daily - Campus weighs in on same-sex marriage case
14. Telegraph - Cambridge University student union elections overshadowed by homophobia row
15. Fordham eNewsroom - Scholar Tells of Living as a Gay Black Man in the American South
16. The Daily Campus - Rainbow Center celebrates 10th anniversary with opening of art gallery
17. The Michigan Daily - Members of the LGBT community and Greek system partner to increase support
18. The Volante - GLBT community finds home at university Vermillion
19. Daily Trojan - Proposition 8 questioned in state court
20. News Record - ACC reluctant to acknowledge lesbian fans
1. Diamondback Online, March 2, 2009
3150 South Campus Dining Hall, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742
For lesbian couple, a sense of equality looms
By Marissa Lange
Robyn Zeiger and Dori Anne Steele were married Aug. 28 - a day the same-sex couple said epitomized progress.
"We timed it so it would be the same day [President Barack] Obama got his nomination, which was also the 45th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.'s march on Washington," Steele said. "It was an important day. And we, too, felt like, finally, we were getting the rights we had waited for. But then they were taken away."
Although the couple has been together for almost 26 years and have married twice - once in Canada and for a second time this August in California - state law defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman, denying Steele and Zeiger, who has been a lecturer in the family science department for more than 20 years, the benefits offered to their opposite-sex counterparts.
If the state legislature approves Gov. Martin O'Malley's (D) proposed budget - which state lawmakers must vote on before the end of the legislative session in April - gay and lesbian university employees and their partners will be granted health benefits, saving Steele and Zeiger more than $10,000 annually due to Steele's health problems.
"I'm a self-employed massage therapist," Steele said. "Sometimes I have part-time jobs that don't offer any insurance, and I have a degenerated disk in my back."
Steele, who underwent surgeries on her shoulder, lower back and ovaries in 2007, said her medical treatments cost the couple nearly $800 a month - costs that would be covered by the university if they were a heterosexual couple.
"I've been working harder than I should just to pay for my insurance," she said. "If I give too many massages, it aggravates my back."
The proposed extension would allow Maryland to join Washington and 15 other states in offering equal benefits to the same-sex domestic partners of state, including university, employees.
"Opposite-sex couples might be a little upset because the legislation would only extend benefits to same-sex domestic partners," Zeiger said. "But they have the option to get married. Whereas if we could get married, this wouldn't be necessary because we'd automatically have marriage benefits. It's not that same-sex couples don't want to get married; we just can't. This is a good interim step."
Though Zeiger and Steele said the policy would be invaluable to those who would benefit from its passage, the number of couples who stand to benefit is hard to predict. Both university and state officials, however, said the number is likely to be small - up to 300 state employees in a workforce of about 70,000 are expected to sign up for the extended health benefits at a predicted cost of $1 to $3 million.
"That's part of the very interesting issue," Zeiger said. "In all the years I've been at this university, I know maybe one or two other couples here in a similar situation. There was a couple who left because they couldn't deal with the fact that there was no domestic partner benefits."
University officials also predict that by extending health benefits, potential "talent" that would otherwise likely opt to work elsewhere would now consider employment at this university.
"It represents a modest cost, depending on who signs up," university President Dan Mote said. "We had supported this long before others signed on. We have lost candidates due to the absence of benefits. But fundamentally, it's just the right thing to do."
Though LBGT advocates say the extension of health benefits is a "good first step," many conservative organizations still oppose the extension of benefits, saying it could be the first step toward allowing same-sex couples to marry.
"This is a controversial issue, so you wouldn't expect everyone to agree," Mote said. "If everyone agreed, we wouldn't have had to wait so long."
The university considered extending health benefits to same-sex couples in 2007, though the measure was shot down by the Board of Regents, a 17-member board that oversees the university system, because they said it would require a change in state law.
But the couple is hopeful. They believe O'Malley's domestic partnership benefits plan will be approved and will help solve many of their persistent problems, and added they hope to see the university apply the policy to other benefits, including tuition remission for family members.
"We have a lifetime commitment to each other," Steele said. "It's nothing more or less special than what heterosexual couples have."
"But this one little thing affects our every day life in so many ways," Zeiger added. "It doesn't hurt anybody, and we just want to have what everyone else already has."
Senior staff writer Allison Stice contributed to this report. email@example.com
2. Los Angeles Times, March 3, 2009
202 West 1st Street, Los Angeles, California, 90012
Lawsuit over gay-marriage speech at L.A. City College spurs reactions
By Gale Holland
Ruben Rivera was dropping off papers to charter a new gay unity club at Los Angeles City College one recent day when he spotted half a dozen middle-aged people milling around the campus quad.
"God Hates Gays," their signs read. Memories came flooding back of fleeing New Jersey after his mother discovered his sexual orientation and threw him out of the family.
"I was almost transported to my adolescence in Vineland, N.J., feeling less than, feeling unworthy, feeling ashamed," said Rivera, 36, of Los Feliz.
The protesters appeared in support of Jonathan Lopez, a Christian student who has sued the Los Angeles Community College District, alleging that an instructor kept him from finishing a classroom speech about his religious beliefs and opposition to same-sex unions. Lopez has said he was discriminated against because of his religious views.
The late-November incident came at the height of emotional protests against the passage of Proposition 8, the gay-marriage ban. Lopez said the instructor, John Matteson, called him a "fascist bastard," told him to "ask God" for his grade and later threatened to retaliate against him for complaining. College officials said in court filings that disciplinary proceedings have begun against Matteson, but declined to be more specific.
The suit, filed Feb. 12, has inspired a wave of blog and media commentary. Lopez's lawyer from the Alliance Defense Fund, co-founded by James Dobson of Focus on the Family, has appeared on the popular Fox News show "The O'Reilly Factor."
A dozen nasty e-mails winged their way to a Pulitzer Prize-winning New York biographer, who had the singular misfortune of sharing a name and occupation with Lopez's instructor.
"Some of them threatened my life," said the New York-based John Matteson, an associate professor of English at John Jay College of Criminal Justice.
Attorney David French said he and Lopez didn't know the protesters or approve of their methods. He said he believed that Lopez's suit struck a chord because conservative and religious voices are often silenced on liberal college campuses. The suit seeks to strike down a university code prohibiting speech that could offend classmates.
"If you take a position outside campus orthodoxy, you can be punished," French said.
Last year, the Alliance Defense Fund won a court injunction stopping San Francisco State University from punishing pro-Israel students who stomped on a flag bearing the name Allah, according to court papers French supplied.
"We've seen this on campuses across the country," French said.
Carl Friedlander, president of the L.A. City College faculty union, said there is no monolithic ideology at the campus. Several instructors said they were disturbed by the conduct described in Lopez's lawsuit but emphasized that they hadn't heard Matteson's side, Friedlander said.
Exactly what Lopez said in Matteson's class is unclear. Lopez turned down an interview request, Matteson did not respond to e-mails, and French said he did not know enough about the speech to detail it.
Lopez recited two Bible verses that had nothing to do with homosexuality, French said. He said Lopez also repeated a dictionary definition of marriage as the union of a man and a woman and cited a passage from Genesis: "A man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh."
Two students said the speech disturbed them, and one called Lopez's presentation "hateful propaganda," according to court filings.
College President Jamillah Moore said hot-button issues including immigration are regularly debated on campus without incident. Instructors are responsible for controlling their classrooms, Moore said.
Friedlander said racial epithets and bigotry should not be tolerated in class. "Certain kinds of speech, I would not allow," he said.
On campus this week, there was little evidence of anti-religious bigotry. At lunchtime, one church group from nearby Koreatown stumped for an upcoming Bible study course. Another handed out plates of rice and salad to students.
Janette Puerto, 18, of Koreatown, one of the diners, said she feels comfortable sharing her religious views on campus. "I'm a Christian. Let the world know," she said.
Rivera, meanwhile, said he hoped that his club, Rainbow Alliance, would include men and women, gay and straight, and would serve as a haven for anybody who feels different.
And as officials moved the Lopez demonstrators to a campus free-speech zone, Rivera distributed leaflets for the club. Rivera said that many students grabbed them, telling him, "Good job, we're glad to see you're here."
The demonstrators may turn out to be his best recruiters, he said.
3. Yale Daily News, March 3, 2009
202 York Street, New Haven, CT 06511
Gender neutral housing on hold
By Eric Randall and Divya Subrahmanyam
Yale students intent on living with members of a different gender will have to look to off-campus accommodations for at least another year.
A proposal that would allow gender-neutral housing options for Yale College juniors and seniors will not be available for the 2009-’10 housing cycle, Yale College Dean Mary Miller and Council of Masters Chairman Judith Krauss announced in a statement Monday. University administrators need further time to study implementation issues surrounding a potential gender-neutral housing program, Miller said, and to study similar programs at peer schools. To that end, a task force will be formed to further explore the proposal.
Senior University administrators requested in Miller’s announcement Monday that the new task force gather information on the track record of similar policies at peer institutions before re-evaluating whether to offer gender-neutral housing at Yale.
“We know what the policies are at other schools, but the groups working on this had not produced a report to describe what the effects had been,” University President Richard Levin said. “What we were proposing is much more sweeping than at other schools.”
The postponed proposal, which would have afforded juniors and seniors the opportunity to live with students of any gender, was recommended by an ad-hoc committee of University administrators before gaining the support of the Council of Masters two weeks ago.
The tabling of this policy marks the continuation of a long debate over the merits of instituting a gender-neutral policy at Yale.
Although the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Cooperative at Yale has been advocating for a gender-neutral policy at Yale for over three years, student advocacy for gender-neutral housing began in earnest in December 2007, when a Yale College Council internal committee was formed to examine the issue.
In Jan. 2008 the YCC voted 22-2 to support that committee’s recommendation that gender-neutral housing be implemented at Yale. The YCC submitted this resolution to the Yale College Dean’s Office, which shortly thereafter formed its own committee to investigate the issue.
YCC President Rich Tao ’10 said he contacted three senior University administrators Monday to ask that students be represented on the new task force. The YCC will also continue working on the issue through an ad-hoc project group, Tao said.
“We’re going to look at finding out how we can help the administration elucidate the evidence,” he said.
Gender-neutral housing could be especially challenging at Yale given the residential college system, said Dean of Student Affairs Marichal Gentry, who sat on the ad-hoc committee the University commissioned to study the issue in Jan. 2008. The University does not want to label one college or one entryway as gender-neutral, Gentry said, out of fear that this would unnecessarily isolate transgender students at Yale. To avoid this, he said, any change would have to apply to all of Yale College. Most of the other institutions that have adopted mixed-gender housing do not offer it to the extent that Yale would, Miller said.
“We’re really going to drill down into what the local experiences are,” Miller said in an interview Monday. “The opportunity to look at the track record [of mixed-gender housing] is something that we’ll be exploring in the task force.”
Harvard instituted a policy in 2007 that allows transgender students to apply for gender-neutral housing on a case-by-case basis. Stanford University established a pilot program in 2008, allowing upperclassmen in one of four residences to apply for gender-neutral housing. Brown University and the University of Pennsylvania both offer some form of gender-neutral housing, while Princeton University does not offer any such options.
Miller said gender-neutral housing could also create logistical problems for juniors in particular, and that the task force must look at these issues.
“What would the practicalities be within the very tight housing constraints of the junior year?” she asked. “Juniors are often forced to reconfigure as it is.”
She said groups of juniors are often forced to combine, given the sizes of the suites available to them when they draw for rooms. If gender-neutral housing were to be approved, she said, there might be pressure for students to participate in a co-educational housing group that they might not find appropriate.
And Miller said the task force must look more closely at the actual needs of transgender students and try to identify other possible ways to accommodate them.
Rachel Schiff ’10, Yale’s LGBT Co-op co-coordinator, said she understands that there are logistical issues with implementation but that the University’s justification for the delay — the need to study implementation at peer institutions — demonstrates that queer student issues are a low priority for the administration.
“It’s [a study] that could have easily been done in time for this decision. But it wasn’t,” Schiff said. “That’s infuriating.”
A policy that would allow juniors and seniors to room with members of any gender garnered widespread approval in a News poll conducted last week. That poll found that 76 percent of students supported such a measure; 60 percent of respondents said they would consider living in a gender-neutral suite.
“This is an issue that transcends gender and sexuality,” said Katrina Landeta ’10, who chaired the YCC’s original committee on gender-neutral housing. “It is unfortunate that it has brought a lot of communities together in support of it and yet we’re still continuing to fight.”
The newly formed task force will be headed by Gentry and Associate Dean for Physical Resources and Planning John Meeske ’74, who chaired the original committee.
Meeske said he is not sure whether the idea of gender-neutral housing has won over all senior University administrators. But the new task force will not be charged with persuasion, only with fact-finding, he said.
“I’m not sure that everyone’s on board with them, but the ideas are out there so they know what the recommendations are,” Meeske said. “We don’t really need recommendations. What we need are facts.”
4. The Michigan Daily, March 2, 2009
Robert Soave: Allied for LGBT acceptance
By Robert Soave
Last month, University LGBT students – with the help of the Spectrum Center – won the right to host the 2011 Midwest Bisexual Lesbian Gay Transgender Ally Conference. According to the Daily story (University to host LGBT conference, 02/19/2009), Spectrum Assistant Director Gabe Javier feels that the University of Michigan is a great place for the conference to be held in part because the Spectrum Center has “a great set of allies all across the University that can really make the conference feel so much more different”.
For those wondering what an “ally” is, it’s a term used to refer to people who are not part of the LGBT community themselves but support LGBT individuals and their movement for equal rights and acceptance. The Spectrum Center actually has an Ally Training program on campus that aims to educate allies and create dialogue between them and people in the LGBT movement. Based upon this and the general perception of the University as promoting a liberal, tolerant environment, it would seem that this campus is as good a place as any.
But despite the degrees of tolerance afforded members of the LGBT community on campus, I can’t quite shake the feeling that we aren’t as tolerant here as we think we are. And while our campus certainly does have a large number of allies who support the LGBT movement, it appears to me that a strong current of non-acceptance runs through not just the country, but the University population as well.
As an ally of the LGBT community who believes that gay people should have the same rights as anyone else, I watched with dismay as the country rejected the idea of equal rights in the 2008 presidential election. California, Florida and Arizona passed ballot proposals to abolish gay marriage. It’s easy to think that these anti-gay sentiments are held by people in distant parts of the country, or at least people who aren’t high-minded, worldly and tolerant college students. But I have reason to believe that our campus isn’t necessarily the bastion of tolerance we might think it is.
Where’s my evidence, you ask? Well, I run into negative attitudes toward the LGBT community all the time. I've engaged in discussions with students in classes, at social gatherings, in dorm cafeterias and other places on campus. When a group of college students are having a discussion, it's not uncommon for these talks to turn into policy debates — and when those debates focus on the issue of gay marriage, I've often found myself running into some version of the following statement: "I don't have to support that lifestyle." Sentiments like this may not seem outwardly offensive – they don’t say that gay people should be kicked off campus or should stop living in sin – but they hint at a subtler and yet equally powerful form of bigotry that I increasingly find myself running into on campus.
The tendency seems to be for individuals who oppose the LGBT movement to express opposition to the idea that we need to “accept” LGBT individuals. They seem to think that as long as they aren’t openly and actively hostile to homosexuals, they’re fully entitled to “disagree” with LGBT individual’s lifestyle choices. In the strictest sense, they’re right – no one is, or should be, forcibly required to hold certain opinions. We are allowed to disapprove of interracial marriage or people of other races entirely, people of other religions or people of another gender. But just because we have the right to withhold our “acceptance” doesn’t mean we should. And in all those examples, society has by and large moved toward accepting these different groups of people. To think that the LGBT community is any different – or any less deserving of our acceptance – is absurd.
This distinction between active discrimination and passive discrimination (in the form of denying acceptance to LGBT people) shouldn’t exist. Discrimination is discrimination, and while statements such as “I just don’t approve of a gay lifestyle” seem to consistently pass the societal “tolerance test”, would someone who said “I just don’t approve of a Christian lifestyle,” or “I just don’t approve of a Jewish lifestyle,” be met with such regard?
The good news about the LGBT struggle is that it seems fairly inevitable that such bigotry will one day be placed in the same category as most other forms of discrimination. But with the Midwest LGBT Conference on our campus still two years away, the best thing you can do is challenge notions of passive intolerance toward gay people so that when the conference does arrive, maybe we can demonstrate that the University of Michigan is indeed an ally of the LGBT community.
Robert Soave is the Daily's editorial page editor. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
5. The GW Hatchet, March 2, 2009
2140 G Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20037
OPINION: The Right Decision
By Joshua Hock
Conservative GW students seem to have been rather quiet about the recent dismissal of gay freshman Todd Belok from the school's NROTC program. I suspect that it is because they are afraid of the accusations of bigotry that would inevitably follow any defense of NROTC's actions or the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy that it obeyed.
I, however, am in a unique position to articulate the conservative position, since I am both a Republican and a homosexual. I differ, though, from Todd Belok in that I am not usually in the habit of announcing or displaying my sexual preference; the only reason I do so today is to make it quite clear that the views I am about to express are not some disguised expression of "homophobic ignorance."
Todd Belok has emerged as a hero following the reports that he was dismissed because other midshipmen witnessed him kissing another male at a party. The Hatchet recently said that Belok has received several supportive phone calls and e-mails ("Ousted ROTC student praised," Feb. 23, p. 1). One former midshipman, who was dismissed from ROTC for similar reasons, suggested that he considers what Belok has done to be a demonstration of bravery. He is wrong.
What Belok has done is a demonstration of insubordination and that, I think, is something hardly compatible with military life.
If Belok was as devoted to serving in the Navy as he claims, he should have been a bit more prepared to conceal the one thing about him that could have, and ultimately did, make his dream impossible. The "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy was his first order. Nobody asked, but he certainly told.
I sympathize with him though. I myself have learned how much of a nuisance homosexuality can be. At a young age, I was forced to choose between acknowledging very real homosexual feelings and fulfilling my aspiration to enter the Catholic clergy. Obviously I, like Belok, chose the former, but I, unlike Belok, did not expect the rules to change just because I had.
In fact, the particular circumstances of Belok's dismissal are the perfect argument for keeping the rules that ban gays from military service. The congressional findings justifying the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy explain that the successful military is marked by "unit cohesion, that is, the bonds of trust among individual service members that make the combat effectiveness of a military unit greater than the sum of the combat effectiveness of the individual unit members" (10 U.S.C. § 654(a)).
Congress supposed that homosexuality would prevent that cohesion, that "bond of brotherhood" from effectively developing and, because it was Belok's fellow midshipmen that reported his actions, I believe they were correct.
One of the students who reported Belok explained his actions, saying "it was just an uncomfortable situation" for the other members of the NROTC ("'Don't Ask' hits home for NROTC," Feb 12, p. 1). While that same student later said he regretted reporting Belok, as long as that discomfort continued, GW's midshipmen could not bond with Belok and thus could not have become the most effective unit possible.
This does not suggest that those midshipmen are hateful, but rather that they, along with what is probably a very large majority of people, are a little perturbed when they witness homosexual acts - even I am still shocked when I see two men kiss publicly.
Perhaps then there may be room for homosexuals in the military. It is the people parading their sexual orientation across the room that are and should be banned. Indeed, I doubt that there is much room for those people anywhere, homosexual or straight.
The writer is a freshman majoring in economics and history.
6. The Edge Boston, March 2, 2009
46 Plympton Street, Boston, MA 02118
Opinions At University Differ Over Gay Student’s NROTC Dismissal
By Kilian Melloy
The story of Todd Belok, a George Washington University freshman and NROTC cadet who was hauled up before a board and dismissed from the NROTC after being spotted kissing his boyfriend at a party, brought protesters to Washington, and controversy to the GWU student body.
In a March 2 article in the student newspaper, the GW Hatchet, a fellow gay freshman--and Republican--offered his perspective on Belok’s dismissal, saying that the NROTC decision was the correct one.
Freshman Joshua Hock wrote in his item that "Conservative GW students" had not been vocal about Belok’s dismissal because, Hock speculated, they were reluctant to appear to uphold bigotry.
However, Hock argued, Belok’s own actions were to account for his dismissal.
Wrote Hock, "I... am in a unique position to articulate the conservative position, since I am both a Republican and a homosexual.
"I differ, though, from Todd Belok in that I am not usually in the habit of announcing or displaying my sexual preference," hock continued; "the only reason I do so today is to make it quite clear that the views I am about to express are not some disguised expression of ’homophobic ignorance.’"
Hock went on to argue that Belok’s display of affection for his boyfriend constituted a violation of his orders, with the military policy barring openly gay troops--the so-called "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell" policy--being "[Belok’s] first order" from the military.
Wrote Hock, "What Belok has done is a demonstration of insubordination and that, I think, is something hardly compatible with military life."
Hock went on to posit that Belok would have done well to conceal his sexuality if he wanted to serve in the Navy, knowing as he did that "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell" was in effect.
Wrote Hock, "Nobody asked, but he certainly told."
Continued Hock, "I sympathize with him though. I myself have learned how much of a nuisance homosexuality can be."
Hock wrote, "At a young age, I was forced to choose between acknowledging very real homosexual feelings and fulfilling my aspiration to enter the Catholic clergy.
"Obviously I, like Belok, chose the former, but I, unlike Belok, did not expect the rules to change just because I had."
Hock went on to say that Belok’s discharge for publicly kissing his boyfriend constituted "the perfect argument for keeping the rules that ban gays from military service," taking the view that open homosexuality would create tension and discomfort between members of military units, leading to decreased "unit cohesion"--the argument originally made in the early 1990s to continue to bar gays and lesbians from serving in uniform.
Hock wrote that most people are uncomfortable with the idea of gay sexuality, writing, "...even I am still shocked when I see two men kiss publicly."
Hock did not call for the repeal of "Don’t Ask Don’t Tell" and the absolute barring of gays from military service, allowing that, "It is the people parading their sexual orientation across the room that are and should be banned" and not gays who are willing to keep their sexuality a secret.
"Indeed, I doubt that there is much room for those people anywhere, homosexual or straight," Hock wrote about individuals who flaunt their sexuality.
Others from George Washington University took the opposite view, staging a protest against "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell" in Washington on Feb. 28.
Another article in the same edition of the Hatchet said that a crowd of about 60 university students were joined by other demonstrators in a protest put together by Allied Pride.
The president of the group, Michael Komo, spoke of the action as a success in drawing attention to the issue, saying, "We got the attention of GW, Georgetown, American and the greater D.C. area."
Added Komo, "It went over very smoothly. I’m very pleased."
The article also included a quote from Belok, who said, "It is pretty motivating to have so many people show up."
Referring to a planned rally against DADT scheduled for Mar. 13, Belok said, "I think as long as we continue the momentum... then we can really change something."
According to Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, an advocacy group and resource to GLBT troops, an estimated 12,500 members of the military have been dismissed under the provisions of DADT over the last 16 years, since Congress implemented the policy in 1993 as a compromise between then-President Bill Clinton’s initiative to integrate the military and the resistance that the idea brought from top brass as well as the rank and file.
The group notes that some of those dismissed under the policy possess mission critical skills like Arabic language proficiency, which are seen as key in prosecuting the ongoing war against terrorism.
Others have been dismissed despite commendations and otherwise perfect service records; Eric Alva, the first U.S. soldier to be wounded in the current action in Iraq, is openly gay. Alva, who lost a leg in Iraq, has become an outspoken advocate to repealing DADT.
Another former soldier, SLDN’s David Hall, spoke at the Feb. 28 rally, the Hatchet reported.
Hall was quoted as saying, "I was ranked No. 1 in my class until another female cadet told our officers that I was gay."
Added Hall, "So now, instead of flying planes, I’m flying a desk at SLDN, trying to repeal ’Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.’ "
The article noted that Belok’s dismissal violated the school’s anti-discrimination policy, but that the school could not enforce the policy when it comes to the NROTC because its funding comes in part from the federal government, and quoted a student, Joe Goldman, as saying, "We need to have a meeting, one on one, with the head of the administration because the community is very upset by the minimalist response from the University on an issue that is very emotional."
To that end, Goldman intended to speak with the president of the university, Steven Knapp, about LGBT sensitivity training for the university’s administration.
With a review of DADT expected from the new administration, critics of the exiting policy feel that now is the time to organize around the issue of openly gay and lesbian troops.
At the SLDN Web site Kevin Nix, the group’s director of communications, posted a Mar. 1 item titled, "You Don’t Have to Be Straight to Shoot Straight."
Nix wrote about the Feb. 28 demonstration in the article, specifying that the action was spurred by Belok’s dismissal from the NROTC.
"Beginning at GW, we all gathered round to hear David Hall relay his own experience being kicked out of ROTC," Nix wrote.
"Ben Mishkin, always one to pump up a crowd, followed by reminding the audience that DADT is the only federal law that forces employers to fire people for being gay.
"We then marched the few blocks from GW to the White House," Nix went on.
"We heard impassioned speeches on how lifting the ban on the thousands of LGBT folks could ease the current strain on our stretched-too-thin military (and not to mention persistent recruitment challenges to find qualified individuals)."
Nix invited readers to "Join us at noon on March 13 for our own rally on the Capitol in Washington to repeal "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell," details of which can be found at the SLDN site.
Kilian Melloy reviews media, conducts interviews, and writes commentary for EDGEBoston, where he also serves as Assistant Arts Editor.
7. 1010wins.com, March 3, 2009
Montclair University Student Protests Ban on Donating Blood
By Steve Sandberg
A 20-year-old sophomore at Montclair State University, Weinstein signed up to donate blood last November at a Red Cross blood drive on campus because, he said, "I thought it would be a nice thing to do."
But when Weinstein, who is gay, answered "yes" on a questionnaire asking whether or not he had had sexual relations with another man since 1977, American Red Cross volunteers running the drive told him that he was ineligible to be a donor.
"My initial reaction was absolute shock. I thought, there's no way," Weinstein, a Randolph native, said last week.
For the past several months, blood supplies around New Jersey have hit critically low levels. Karen Ferriday, a spokeswoman for Community Blood Services in Oradell, said blood stores, which optimally provide three to five days worth of blood, have fallen to half-day supplies for the past several months.
Still, donors like Weinstein have found themselves turned away from donating because a Food and Drug Administration regulation born at the height of the AIDS scare in 1983 still places a lifetime ban on blood donations by gay and bisexual men.
Women who have had sex with a gay or bisexual partner are out, too.
Earlier this month, Weinstein protested the FDA rule by standing outside another American Red Cross blood drive on campus. Weinstein also circulated a petition protesting the FDA policy, getting more than 150 signatures in his first demonstration.
"It had a direct impact on me," he said. "I was being grouped. … It struck a chord with me."
The rationale for the ban, according to the FDA Web site, is the fact that men who have had sex with other men account for the largest single group of blood donors who are found HIV positive by blood-donor testing. By eliminating that group, the risk of transmitting HIV is diminished.
But more than 30 years after AIDS was first seen, many gay advocates and blood donation organizations say that HIV is no longer a disease that affects only gay men.
Steven Goldstein, the chairman of gay advocacy group Garden State Equality, called the FDA policy "grotesquely discriminatory."
"The fact is, in this world, there are still people who have unsafe sex who are straight and have unsafe sex with people of the opposite sex. A policy that prohibits gay people from donating blood is from the Neanderthal era," he said.
Goldstein said that a person's eligibility to donate blood should be evaluated case by case, based on his or her status and history.
Some donation groups thought so, too. In 2007, the Red Cross, America's Blood Centers and the international donation group AABB suggested that, instead of the lifetime ban, the FDA allow donations from men who have not had sexual contact with another man for more than one year.
The blood groups had criticized the FDA's policy as "medically and scientifically unwarranted."
But its only response was to reiterate its lifetime ban of gay and bisexual men on its Web site, writing it would consider changing its policy "only if supported by scientific data showing that a change in policy would not present a significant and preventable risk to blood recipients."
The Red Cross and America's Blood Centers, which operates Paramus-based Community Blood Services of New Jersey, say that their hands are tied in terms of allowing gay men to donate.
"It is a really sensitive issue right now," said Anthony Tornetta, spokesman for the American Red Cross Penn-Jersey Blood Services region. "Obviously, we are required to follow all FDA guidelines."
Ferriday, of Community Blood Services, said her organization tests all incoming blood for infectious diseases. If a donor with an infectious disease donated blood, Ferriday said Community Blood Services would find it and notify the donor of his disease.
At Montclair State, many people asked Weinstein if, after the first rejection, he would lie on the donation forms.
"I wouldn't. It's irresponsible," Weinstein said. Still, he said he may go through the donation process again when the Red Cross holds its spring donation drive, just to see if he is again rejected. "Don't we all have the right to give?"
8. TCU Daily Skiff, March 4, 2009
Box 298050, Fort Worth, Texas 76129
SGA approves support for campus LGBT community
By Eric Anderson
The Student Government Association House of Student Representatives unanimously approved a resolution on Tuesday to support a lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender resource center on campus.
Su Harz, a junior social work major who introduced the resolution to the House, said the purpose of the resolution is to show that LGBT students have the support of SGA in seeking needed resources. Groups like the Gay-Straight Alliance for LGBT students already exist at the university, but the GSA excludes faculty and staff, she said. The proposed center would serve the entire LGBT community on campus.
"Our ultimate goal is that at some point in the future there will be a resource center on campus," Harz said. "As a stepping stone, we would like to at least have someone who is trained in LGBT issues in the office of Inclusiveness and Intercultural Services."
Shelly Newkirk, a sophomore social work major, authored the resolution in order to gauge the support of the student body.
"With the support of SGA we can show the administration that this is a campuswide issue," Newkirk said.
Newkirk and Harz co-founded the Iris Initiative, an effort geared toward raising awareness of LGBT issues on campus.
Student Body Vice President Matt Dietrichson said the university needs a centralized organization where students who feel like outsiders can seek needed resources.
"A resource center like this is long overdue," Dietrichson said.
Student Body President Kelsie Johnson declined to comment on the resolution and referred questions to the legislation's authors.
Candace Ruocco, Academic Affairs chair, said SGA members were excited that LGBT students were seeking their help.
"Every student at TCU, no matter what his or her circumstances are, deserves to be accommodated and feel comfortable, or at the very least to have some type of outlet, or place where they can go to feel comfortable," Ruocco said.
Haley Murphy, Speaker of the Student House of Representatives, said SGA support allows the LGBT community to use the House committees as a sounding board to the administration and serve as the voice of the student body.
Ruocco said SGA wants to help all groups on campus to improve their college experience.
"We hope that the LGBT community and SGA can come together and create a framework to get students, faculty and staff the resources that they need," Ruocco said.
9. The Tufts Daily, March 4, 2009
Curtis Hall, 474 Boston Ave, Medford, MA 02155
Posters spark discussion
By Ben Gittleson
Posters that were put up last week over an on-campus mural with messages that many interpreted as deriding the queer community have provoked just what the student who posted them wanted: discussion.
The postings came about as a result of a project in an Experimental College course on performance art. Since their discovery and partial removal last Tuesday, they have sparked a Tufts University Police Department report and an investigation by Office of the Dean of Student Affairs. They have also provoked ongoing dialogue over free speech, the institution of marriage and about how the greater Tufts community engages and views issues pertaining to social justice.
The posters, which conveyed messages disparaging gay marriage displayed over photographs of a penis and of a naked man with a sex toy, were part of a bigger collection of an ExCollege class' work posted on top of a mural that the artist Shepard Fairey put up on Jan. 24 next to the Jumbo Express convenience store at the campus center. The other posters attacked subjects ranging from Israel to President Barack Obama.
Milan Kohout, a performance artist and the lecturer who teaches the class "Guerilla Performance Art and Politics," asked students to design political posters and floated the idea of placing them over a mural.
"Students had the assignment to create political posters in the sort of similar game of Shepard Fairey," said Kohout, who called Fairey a "hypocrite" who has sold himself out. "I asked them to create posters that would use the principle of freedom of speech ... I didn't censor the expression of my students at all because I believe that it is actually the university ground which should ... nurture the principle of freedom of speech."
An individual who said he was a gay student told the Daily last week that he put up the gay marriage-related posters with the intention of promoting discussion about the general concept of marriage. The person, who requested anonymity, said he did not aim to offend anyone.
Bias Education and Awareness Team (BEAT Bias), an on-campus group that promotes issues of dialogue and tolerance, held an open meeting yesterday for those affected by the gay marriage postings. Attendance at the meeting, co-sponsored by the Office of the Dean of Student Affairs, the LGBT Center and Tufts Hillel, largely consisted of administrators and BEAT Bias members, though.
The group of about 15 discussed issues pertaining to the debate over marriage within the queer community, ways to engage students not involved in issues pertaining to social justice for two hours.
As a jumping-off point, they used the online comments made on sophomore Ryan Heman's Mar. 2 Daily op-ed, a piece that focused on Heman's frustration with the way that the situation has been handled by members of the Tufts community.
Senior Sofia Nelson, who has been involved since her freshman year with the "Group of Six" -- an assemblage of Tufts student centers that seeks to promote diversity -- particularly the LGBT Center, said that the discussion centered around how to engage a larger swath of the Tufts community on topics like race, identity and socioeconomic status.
"The tone was how do we talk about and educate the greater community about these things that they don't necessary feel compelled to ... explore on their own," Nelson said.
On Friday, workers tore down the Fairey mural, after it started to become an "eyesore," according to Dean of Student Affairs Bruce Reitman. Parts of the mural, which consisted of series of modular paper pieces of varying size, had been removed by passersby in recent weeks.
"The wall was becoming a target for graffiti in general," he said.
The university obtained the permission of Fairey and the Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston, which opened an exhibit of the artist's work around the time of the placement of the Tufts mural, before tearing down what remained of the work, Reitman said.
Kohout pointed out that his students placed the posters only over Fairey's mural -- not on other sections of the wall.
"We discussed where to place it, and I suggested that they could consider [creating] another conceptual layer on Shepard Fairey's hypocritical freedom of speech."
Reitman said that the university will continue to investigate the postering throughout this week by talking to students in Kohout's class. His office will also examine rules that relate to vandalism and freedom of speech, particularly as they pertain to material generated by courses at the university, he said.
The incident has brought up questions over the definition of street art, as well, Reitman added.
"What are the rules about a piece like that? It's very complex," Reitman said. "Is it still street art once you sort of endorse it and make it part of Tufts?"
Outside of the investigation, other groups on campus are taking different steps to move beyond the incident. According to LGBT Center Director Tom Bourdon, communication between the administration and the student body, including freshman orientation programming, may serve as first steps to creating safe spaces on campus and respect between students, even if they disagree with each other.
"I think we're really looking at how we can strengthen our efforts to have conversations about diversity and reach people ... that we might not normally get to speak with," Bourdon said.
10. Pink News, March 5, 2009
PinkNews, Pheonix Yard, 65 Kings Cross Road, London WC1X 9LW
LGBT university staff and students face 'high levels' of discrimination
By Jessica Geen
A survey has suggested that many gay, bisexual and trans staff and students in UK higher education institutes suffer homophobia and discrimination.
The research, led by Professor Gill Valentine at the University of Leeds, found that 20 per cent of LGB students and 28.5 per cent of trans students had been forced to suspend their studies due to homophobia and transphobia.
Although over 90 per cent of gay and bisexual students were out to their peers, 46.8 per cent said they had been subjected to negative comments, while others said they felt they couldn't participate in certain activities such as sports, as they felt other students may be wary of being phsyically close to them.
Financial problems were a particular concern for trans students, with 34.8 per cent saying they feared being cut off by their parents if they revealed their trans status.
One student said: "Obviously, with planning to transition and everything, it’s probably quite a good idea for me to tell my parents at some point but there’s the fact that they are very Catholic and they’re quite homophobic and transphobic.
"And basically I think they might cut me off. The estrangement provisions at the moment are a load of crap, so that’s a bit of a worry."
Staff reported high levels of discrimination, with 33 per cent of LGB and 41 per cent of trans staff saying they had faced abuse from colleagues.
Lack of awareness was another issue, with 37.1 per cent of LGBT staff saying they did not know if their university had a written policy on sexual orientation discrimination, while 61.8 per cent were unaware of whether it had a policy on trans discrimination.
Fifty-nine per cent of staff do not know if their institution has an LGBT network 84.4 per cent of LGB staff do not know if their institution offers bereavement, adoption and maternity/paternity leave to LGB employees who are not registered as civil partners.
The report suggested that positive images of LGBT people in admissions brochures influenced respondents' choices on which institution to attend but added that those in "gay-friendly" locations were more likely to suffer bullying, possibly because of their increased visibility.
Positively, only 1.7 per cent of LGB students and 5.4 per cent of trans students felt they had been awarded lower marks due to their sexual orientations or trans identities and the majority of student unions were reported to be supportive.
Commenting on the report, minister of state for higher education David Lammy, said: "I welcome this report which is one of the first of its kind to highlight the experiences of LGBT staff and students.
"We expect universities to be tolerant places, promoting open thinking. The fact that LGBT students feel they can be themselves in our universities is very positive.
"But there still needs to be a concerted effort by the sector and institutions to ensure that LGBT staff and students feel welcome and are acknowledged and recognised as an integral part of the higher education community."
11. Daily Queer News, March 5, 2009
IL: College Fraternities and Sororities Not Easy for Gays, Lesbians
EVANSTON, IL (AP) - College fraternities and sororities are becoming more accepting of the idea of having gay and lesbian pledges. It’s not a likely fit all the time, as Greek life on college campuses is known for perpetuating its own stereotypes. Fraternities and sororities consist mainly of young men and women - who are straight or perhaps bowing to peer pressure to at least identify that way.
These privileged few are seen by other students as dumb, rich and mostly party animals. Like any generalization, it’s an unfair classification and not always true. While these “Greek” societies on campuses are largely closed, self-contained groups, they cannot know every aspect of their members’ lives.
If a student chooses not to reveal his sexual orientation, a fraternity or sorority may find itself with a gay or lesbian member that it might not have actively recruited. That is - if the member chooses to disclose that information, which many do not.
The main draw for many students to “go Greek” is the socialization a fraternity or sorority offers it members. It provides a home-away-from-home for many out-of-towners, who have their “brothers” or “sisters” looking out for them. Unfortunately, for many gays and lesbians, it is largely a heterosexual social aspect.
Lambda 10 Project is an organization striving to raise awareness of LGBT issues on campuses, and specifically in fraternities and sororities. According to its research, Lambda 10 sees greater numbers of people coming out in their Greek organizations, although it offers no specific figures.
For all the modest gains, it may still be difficult to be gay and Greek. Fraternities and sororities have been notoriously slow to change, first in becoming racially integrated, and it was only a decade ago that Greek chapters started including sexual orientation as part of the non-discrimination portions of their national bylaws.
12. Associated Press, March 5, 2009
2 Fla. students challenge school's gay club ruling
By Ron Word
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — An attorney for two gay students at a north Florida high school told a federal judge Thursday they should be allowed to form a campus club promoting tolerance toward gays, despite a school prohibition.
But a lawyer for the Nassau County School Board said the group's name, Gay-Straight Alliance, is against school policy.
Yulee High School students Hannah Page and Jacob Brock, represented by the American Civil Liberties Union, are suing the school board to overturn its decision banning them from forming the club at school. Yulee is about 25 miles north of Jacksonville, near the Georgia state line.
U.S. District Judge Henry Adams Jr. said he would issue a ruling on a motion for a preliminary injunction "as soon as I can," but gave Nassau County three days to submit additional written arguments. The students want an injunction to allow them to meet until the case goes to trial.
ACLU Attorney Robert F. Rosenwald Jr. argued that Page and Brock had been the target of anti-gay epithets and threats of violence at school and wanted to start the Gay-Straight Alliance to open a discourse among students.
Attorney Frank Sheppard, who represents the school board, said the district's main complaint is the name of the group, saying it does not approve of groups dealing with sexual orientation and noted the school has an abstinence-based sex education curriculum.
"If they change the name and comply with Nassau County School Board policies they can meet," he said.
The judge questioned Sheppard over the school's objection to the name.
"A Gay-Straight Alliance, that covers everybody doesn't it?" Adams asked.
After the hearing, Page said the group doesn't want to change its name because it represents what the club is about.
"This school is ashamed of using the word 'gay' In this environment," she said.
School officials had no problem with the idea of tolerance and rejecting bullying, Sheppard said, but they believe the club will be disruptive.
Rosenwald noted that the Fellowship of Christian Athletes meets on campus. He told the judge that an FCA booklet includes references to sexual issues, including a student pledge to remain sexually pure and an article about dealing with homosexuality in the locker room.
Sheppard said he was unaware of the document and Adams said he could have three days to respond to it.
Rosenwald asked for the injunction, noting that Brock, a junior, and Page, a freshman, might be out of school before the case is decided.
"These students are in a short window on this," he said.
The ACLU recently won a similar case in Okeechobee. A judge there ruled schools must provide for the well-being of gay students and cannot discriminate against a Gay-Straight Alliance.
Rosenwald said the Okeechobee County School Board paid $326,000 in attorneys fees in the case.
13. Spartan Daily, March 5, 2009
One Washington Square, San Jose, CA 95112-01493
Campus weighs in on same-sex marriage case
By Elizabeth Kang
In November 2008, California voters ruled against gay marriage, but the fight for its reversal wages on.
Oral arguments involving the legality of Proposition 8, which recognizes marriage as strictly between a man and a woman, will be made in front of the California Supreme Court today. A decision is expected from the court within 90 days after oral arguments are heard.
Tiffany Quan, a freshman business marketing major, said a lot of her friends supported Proposition 8. She said that while she understands where they come from, she feels that if two people are in love and want to be together, it's their right.
"I support free choice," she said. "I think people should do what they want to do."
But Nithin Mathew, president of the College Republicans at SJSU, disagreed.
"We do believe in equal rights for everyone, although I don't believe that marriage is an alienable right," Mathew said.
"Marriage," he added, "is an issue of separation of church and state."
Wiggsy Sivertsen, a counselor and sociology professor, said she does not agree with those who voted for Proposition 8.
"I think the people who were carrying the 'Yes on 8' campaign were saying, 'We want to be able to discriminate against a certain class of people,' and right now it happens to be the gay and lesbian community," she said.
Sivertsen said she and her partner were married on Halloween, after the California Supreme Court overturned Proposition 22, legalizing same-sex marriage in June 2008.
One issue that will be addressed by the court is the legality of the marriages performed, such as Sivertsen's, before Proposition 8 passed.
"None of those marriages should have validity inside of California," Mathew said.
Sivertsen said she will be thinking about the future of her recent marriage as today's proceedings occur.
"I would like my marriage to hold up," Sivertsen said, adding that no matter what people may think, marriage is a legal commitment and should be viewed as one.
"Marriage is about property," she said. "It has nothing to do with a religious ceremony. The religious ceremony is the 'celebration' of marriage."
Terry Christensen, a political science professor, said that although he can't predict how the courts will rule, he knows which direction the arguments could go.
"Attorney General Brown will argue that (Proposition 8) is taking away inalienable rights," he said. "Opponents will say that it's democracy and that is what the people voted."
Lamoria Roberts, a junior justice studies major, said democracy should rule.
"I think it's sad that they would go against the will of the people," she said. "I voted yes on Prop. 8."
"Either make it a choice for the people and let us vote and respect our vote or don't make a choice and just make it legal," Roberts added.
Mathew shared a similar sentiment.
"If we don't listen to the voters, why have a democracy?" he said. "I find it tyrannical that people are ignoring the voices of the voters."
Andrae Macapinlac, president of SJSU's Democratic Caucus, said it wouldn't be the first time a court overruled a majority vote by the people.
"They voted for segregation in the South during the '60s and for limiting voting in the South during the '60s," he said.
Christensen referred to other instances in the past where the courts overruled a majority vote to protect the rights of minorities.
"In California, specifically in the '60s, there was a vote on discrimination in housing," he said. "In the '90s, there was a vote on the rights of illegal immigrants to have access to public services like school, welfare and healthcare. The voters said no and the courts said yes."
Sivertsen said she also looked at history to determine what outcome the court may have.
"If you look at the history of civil rights in this country, it has never occurred by the ballot box, she said. "It's always occurred through court decision, and the court's responsibility is to interpret the law."
Sivertsen said that some of the arguments against gay marriage confound her.
"One thing people are saying that I don't understand is that it will destroy marriage as we know it today," she said.
"How? I have been in gay politics for 40 years and I haven't found an answer," Sivertsen added. "We are very reluctant to change the things that we become familiar with and that are comfortable to us."
Sivertsen said the issue raised by opponents on teaching children about homosexuality is unwarranted.
"They kept telling people, 'We'll have to teach homosexuality in schools.' I don't remember that ever being written any place. However, I think that every child has a right to learn about the society in which it lives," she said.
Children are also a concern for student Quan.
"If a child is in school and they have two mothers, wouldn't they get made fun of a lot? If people of the same sex get married, they should really think things through, not just for themselves but for their children," she said.
Another concern Sivertsen said opponents have is that if legalized, same-sex marriages would be required to be performed in all churches.
"That was never our intention and never has been," she said. "I don't know about all my gay friends but I don't want to go to a church that hates me and get married. We have been married or become domestic partners by people who willingly and welcomingly want to participate."
After Proposition 8 passed by 52 percent, it became clear that many people do not want to participate in labeling same-sex unions as "marriage."
"It should not be called marriage," College Republicans club's Mathew said. "They should be allowed a 'domestic partnership' with everything equal as married couples."
If the court does decide against Proposition 8, Christensen said the decision will be monumental.
"If they overturn (Proposition 8) it will be such a big deal because it will set a precedent," he said. "They will be very careful about what they say because the rest of the country follows the precedent set by the California Supreme Court. The decision will be looked at by other states and the federal court," he said.
"Whatever the decision, this is going to go on for a while. It could take weeks or months," he said.
The California Channel will broadcast the hearing of arguments surrounding Proposition 8 from 9 a.m. to noon.
Events involving same-sex couples and the right to marry in the state of California.
2000: Proposition 22 is passed by voters, defining marriage as between a man and a woman.
2004: San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom orders the issuance of same-sex marriage licenses by the city and county of San Francisco. The state Supreme Court later voided the marriages.
Sept. 2005: Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoes a bill which proposed legalizing same-sex marriage.
May 2008: The state Supreme Court overturns Proposition 22, clearing way for same-sex marriage to begin in the following month. The decision officially took effect, allowing 18,000 same-sex couples to marry by November.
Nov. 2008: Proposition 8 is passed by voters, placing the definition of marriage as between a man and a woman into the California Constitution.
Dec.2008 to Jan. 2009: Arguments and briefs are filed contesting or supporting the legality of Proposition 8, setting a date for arguments before the state Supreme Court.
Source / San Francisco Chronicle
14. The Telegraph, March 6, 2009
111 Buckingham Palace Road, London, SW1W 0DT
Cambridge University student union elections overshadowed by homophobia row
By Nick Allen
Guolong Li, 20, was condemned by gay rights groups after he suggested the university should help to "change" gay people and make them "normal".
Mr Li made the comments during a presidential debate when he was asked about his policies on lesbian, bisexual, gay and transgender (LBGT) campaigns at the university.
He said: "I think it's more important that we provide help for them...to persuade them to be normal, to no longer be LBGT, to change them."
The remarks overshadowed the election and were condemned by academic staff and students. They also sparked an angry response from hundreds of fellow students on the internet.
Mr Li, a second-year mathematics student at Churchill College, withdrew his candidacy for president on Monday, one day before polling. His opponent Tom Chigbo was left as the only candidate.
Richard Partington, senior tutor at Churchill College, said that the comments did not fit with the university's ethos and that it was right that the candidate stepped down.
He said: "The college regards Guolong Li's comments about LBGT students as unacceptable and repudiates them. We know that Guolong has withdrawn from the presidential election and would regard that withdrawal as appropriate."
Shereen Akhtar, president of the students union LBGT group, said: "As an organisation we exist to promote the understanding and experiences of sexual minorities, many of whom still face discrimination and mistrust.
"We believe campaigns to change people's inherent sexual orientation to be damaging and misguided."
Mr Li, who is originally from the city of Xian, in China, was speaking during a hustings event at Gonville & Caius College. He was addressing students at the hustings over a live video feed.
He later announced his withdrawal from the election on the social networking website Facebook.
Mr Li said: "I have withdrawn my candidacy now and, therefore, I can say what I really think. Firstly, I never thought that I could win in the election, but I participated because I want to let more people see the hustings and to make the election more interesting.
"And as I have said so many times, if you don't think that I can persuade LBGT people to change, then it is on them to decide not to change, So simple is it."
Mr Li, who claims his nicknames around the university are "superman" and "pizza", had conducted an unorthodox campaign which included a song based on the Bob the Builder chart-topper "Can We fix It?"
He changed the lyrics to "President Li, can we fix it? President Li, yes we can!"
He is also a keen chess, squash and badminton player.
His rambling election manifesto was based on promoting an "Olympic spirit" at the university along with the spirit of "hakuna matata" - a Swahili phrase meaning "There are no worries" which was made famous in the 1994 animated film The Lion King.
In the wake of his comments hundreds of Cambridge students joined a Facebook group called "Homophobia in CUSU Elections" to condemn him.
One of his college friends joined the group to defend Mr Li, saying: "We have tried to talk to Guolong and argue with him to no avail about his 'views' for almost two years. We have learnt to live with him as a joke."
15. Fordham eNewsroom, March 2009
Scholar Tells of Living as a Gay Black Man in the American South
Contact: Janet Sassi
E. Patrick Johnson, Ph.D., knows firsthand how hard it is to go home again, especially when you are a gay black man from the rural South.
Speaking on March 4 at the Lincoln Center campus, Johnson, professor of African-American studies and chair of the Department of Performance Studies at Northwestern University, chronicled his personal and professional journey conducting 18 months of oral history research on Southern gay black men.
The resulting book, Sweet Tea: Black Gay Men of the South (University of North Carolina Press, 2008), consists of interviews with 70 men between ages of 19 and 93 who have struggled with the experience of being gay in a culture that keeps its taboos, Johnson said, “hidden in plain sight.” He chose to use oral histories because it was an “easier route” into lives that often remained unspoken.
“I see this research as a living archive that will serve as a resource for not only other researchers, but for a general public who have never been exposed to the life histories of sexual others,” Johnson said. “Hopefully, such a history will open spaces for public reflection on the way that race, class, gender, sexuality and religion affect our relationships to home.”
Born and raised in the North Carolina foothills, Johnson said he spent much of his formative life overcompensating for his sexuality by being a high achiever in music, sports and academics. His hometown of Hickory, N.C., he said, even gave him his own day, E. Patrick Johnson Day, for the distinction of being the first African American in its history to earn a doctorate.
“What the town doesn’t know is that it was partly my queerness that motivated my overachievement,” said Johnson. “If I could only deflect attention away from my high butt, soprano voice, penchant for dolls and my mama’s wigs—away from some of the fundamental parts I was coming to know as ‘me’—by being the Good Son . . . only then, when the unspoken and devastating news finally came that I am queer, it would not be so damn disappointing.”
While working on the project, however, Johnson encountered a transgendered person: Chaz/Chastity dressed as a woman from Monday through Saturday and as a man on Sunday, so that he could sing tenor in the church choir. While Chaz considered undergoing a gender change, he ultimately embraced his own indifference and gender confusion as God’s will for him.
Johnson said that Chaz’ “audacity to be true to who she was” made him realize his own complicity of silence in being truthful about who he was.
“After the experience of writing Sweet Tea, I could not go home as who I was,” said Johnson. “The stories these men told validated my black and queer history. . . as far back as my lineage would allow my mind to imagine. They are the stories that make going home a little bit easier.”
Johnson has tapped his performance expertise to bring the oral histories to three-dimensional form. He developed a one-person show of “performative witnessing” in which he uses voice and gesture to embody the interviews of the men in his book. He performed the show, “Pouring Tea: Black Gay Men of the South Tell Their Tales,” on March 2 and 3 in New York.
Johnson’s talk was sponsored by Fordham’s American Studies program and several departments.
Founded in 1841, Fordham is the Jesuit University of New York, offering exceptional education distinguished by the Jesuit tradition to approximately 14,700 students in its four undergraduate colleges and its six graduate and professional schools. It has residential campuses in the Bronx and Manhattan, a campus in Westchester, and the Louis Calder Center Biological Field Station in Armonk, N.Y.
16. The Daily Campus, March 5, 2009
University of Connecticut, 11 Dog Lane, Storrs, CT 06268
Rainbow Center celebrates 10th anniversary with opening of art gallery
By Caitlin Mazzola
The Rainbow Center celebrated its 10-year anniversary at UConn with a wave of color and an air of acceptance at its opening reception for the "Legacy and Spirit," an art show, on Wednesday at 7 p.m. in the Student Union. The Rainbow Center recognized its decade of improving the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) students with works of art created by the LGBT community and its supporters.
Like the Rainbow Center, "Legacy and Spirit" provided a colorful and inviting environment to passersby and members alike. The show's purpose was not only to showcase the art created by the community, but to inspire more of the UConn population to accept and be aware of diversity, a goal the Center has been steadily attaining during its lifespan.
"UConn went from being the number 12 most homophobic school in the country to being in the top 100 most tolerant schools in the country," said Crystal Pretzman, a UConn alum and former member of the Rainbow Center.
That fact alone encompasses all of what the Rainbow Center has done to push past narrow-mindedness and make UConn a more welcoming environment for the LGBT community. According to Pretzman, UConn's Rainbow Center is considered one of the best in the country, and visitors and alumni alike are amazed at the growth and space the Center has achieved in 10 short years.
The exhibit was organized to include a timeline of events since the Rainbow Center's conception in September 1998 that affected the LGBT community as a whole, as well as UConn. On February 11, 1999, USG passed the Gay Marriage Resolution, making UConn one of the first universities to support same-sex marriages. In October of 2005, the Rainbow Center placed first for marching groups in the Homecoming parade, and the state of Connecticut legalized civil unions. In November of 2005, Judy Shepard, the mother of the gay slain college student Matthew Shepard, spoke at UConn on behalf of her son.
"I learned things that I didn't know," said Dr. Julie Elkins, advisor to the USG. "The did an amazing job, being able to capture the timeline and progression of how the students have worked together, not only as the Rainbow Center, but collaboratively with the community."
The Women's Center also made contributions to the show in an effort to inform the populace about the AIDS epidemic. Vivid posters displayed facts and answers to frequently asked questions, and choice quotes by Colin Powell.
Pictures of the Rainbow Center members were sprinkled throughout the timeline, highlighting not only the path that the LGBT community have taken, but the journeys of UConn students themselves. T-shirt samples from various past campaigns accompanied the artwork, which was the main focus of the exhibit.
The art was bright and varied. There were campaign posters spread across the walls, all including the tagline: "Tired of being told what you can and cannot do because of your gender? So are we. Express yourself." Gravestones were erected in memory of two victims of homophobic hate crimes, Tyra Hunter and Michael Sandy.
A display of CDs and CD-Roms took up nearly the entire far corner of the show, the rows of CDs joining in the middle in a rainbow of CD labels.
The show was entitled "Legacy and Spirit" in commemoration of the Rainbow Center's endurance and commitment to change.
"We've really moved forward leaps and bounds," said Jesse Kohut, a graduate student in the education program and member of the Rainbow Center. "Spirit is what drove everything we did. We did not have a guarantee we'd succeed - but we tried."
17. The Michigan Daily, March 5, 2009
Members of the LGBT community and Greek system partner to increase support
By Nicole Aber
As part of an increased effort to bring the Greek community and the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender community together, members of the respective groups will meet Sunday to create a stronger support system on campus.
Officials from the Spectrum Center, the University office in charge of LGBT affairs, will lead a workshop designed to teach members of all four Greek councils about what it means to be both Greek and gay.
The Greek-LGBT workshop was developed through a collaborative effort between the Spectrum Center and the Lambda Alliance — a student organization serving as a supportive partnership between LGBT students and their allies in the Greek system.
Kristefer Stojanovski, co-chair of the Lambda Alliance, which was founded by members of the four Greek councils — the Interfraternity Council, the Panhellenic Association, the Multicultural Greek Council and the National Pan-hellenic Council — in the fall of 2007, said the idea for a Greek-LGBT workshop has been in the works for about a year.
Stojanovski said the workshop is going to address situations that arise in the Greek community involving LGBT members, like when a member of a fraternity or sorority comes out to his or her brothers or sisters.
“Primarily if you look on campuses, there are two primarily homophobic groups that aren’t really open, and it’s the athletics and the Greek system,” Stojanovski said.
Gabe Javier, the assistant director of the Spectrum Center, will be leading the workshop. He said he wants the workshop to be interactive and tailored to meet the questions and concerns of the attendees.
“We also want to talk about myths versus facts and perceptions, perceptions versus the real lives of people,” Javier said. “We want to create spaces all over campus where people feel comfortable being themselves.”
During the winter and fall of 2007, the Spectrum Center conducted a survey to gauge the feelings of the Greek community toward LGBT students. Stojanovski said that the survey's results indicated that while many individuals in the Greek community were comfortable with LGBT students, they perceived that their houses were not.
“What came out of that survey was that, individually, people were OK with it, but as you got into bigger realms such as houses and chapters, it was a little more homophobic, and then as you got to the entire Greek system it was even more homophobic,” Stojanovski said.
Stojanovski said the aim of the workshop is to further the conversation and increase awareness about issues LGBT students face in the Greek community. The workshop, which Stojanovski said he hopes becomes an annual event, was also introduced to new members of the Greek community through a similar workshop during the Interfraterntiy Council’s New Member Day last semester.
“What we want to do is increase the awareness and make people realize that this isn’t so weird and it’s not so awkward and it shouldn’t be so difficult to deal with, because the entire concept of the Greek system is that they’re supposed to be brothers and sisters and support each other,” he said.
Stojanovski, LSA senior and former member of Chi Psi, said another goal of the workshop is to change people’s views of the relationship between the LGBT community and the Greek system.
“I’m a member of the Greek system and I think it’s a great thing,” he said. “So we want to change people’s perceptions from the outside looking in, and from the inside looking out.”
Javier also said the workshop is an important first step in bridging the gap between LGBT students and Greeks, who serve as central figures on campus.
“Greeks are really great leaders on campus, and their leading can also be a really good example for social justice,” Javier said. “I think that there are stereotypes about gay people and we want to debunk those and there are also stereotypes about people who are in fraternities and sororities and we want to debunk those too.
"We want to add depth to the experience of being Greek and giving people the opportunity to be allies and to learn more about different folks is part of that,” he said.
IFC President Ari Parritz said that while the workshop is not mandatory for fraternity members, it is strongly encouraged because increasing awareness of LGBT issues in the Greek community is a high priority for the IFC.
“We recognize that IFC in particular struggles with LGBT awareness, and we understand that the topic is uncomfortable for many of our members, but we are moving ahead as quickly, efficiently, and practically as we can,” Parritz said in an e-mail interview.
“Right now, there is little doubt that some of our members do not feel comfortable coming out within our system," he said. "That is a reality we are doing all in our power to change."
18. The Volante, March 4, 2009
Room 130, Al Neuharth Media Center, University of South Dakota
GLBT community finds home at university Vermillion
By Ngoc Thach
What started out as a routine summer day turned into a pivotal moment in 16-year-old Austin Gehrts’ life. He was going to work, but while pulling out of the driveway, an impulse hit him.
“I stopped the car, and I was quiet for a while and then I said to myself out loud, ‘Austin, you’re gay,’” Gehrts, now 19 and a freshman at USD, said. “I’ve known since the end of middle school and I pushed it to the back of my mind and said ‘no it’s not an option, I’m not going to be that guy.’ Admitting it to myself was definitely the hardest part.”
Six months later during Gehrts’ sophomore year of high school, he told his mom about his sexuality through tears. His mother expressed her unconditional love and support for him. Gradually he told more family members and friends about his sexuality, many of whom showed support. The environment and friends within the theater program at his high school in Aberdeen, S.D., helped make the process of coming out easier for him.
Psychology professor Cindy Struckman-Johnson said the gay lesbian bisexual transgender community fits in well at USD where students are open to diversity. Her GLBT students are comfortable at the university and rarely have discriminatory experiences, she said.
“This generation has grown up with little stereotyping and is accepting of diversity,” Struckman-Johnson said. “I hardly ever see or hear about bad experiences from students. It is very different now than it was 20 or 30 years ago.”
Support from home was hard to find for senior Brandi Oviedo. She came out to her mother who told her to not tell anyone. After she came out to her father over the phone a year and a half ago, he cried. Her mother then called and told her not to come home for her nephew’s baptism, Oviedo said.
Being raised in a Mexican and Catholic background with a very conservative family made it harder for her to come to terms with her sexual orientation. It was through seeing the happiness in the members of 10 Percent Society that she found the courage and desire to come out her freshman year, first to her roommate and then gradually to her friends.
“When I joined as an ally, I saw that everyone was really happy with being themselves and I was like ‘I want that,’” Oviedo said. “I told the people here because they’re like family, but they don’t judge. I couldn’t even say the word gay or lesbian around my family. That made it really hard.”
Gehrts said he is lucky to have a family who is nothing but loving and supportive so he can be himself when he is at home and at school. Many people he has met since he’s been at college are not so fortunate and are only out at school.
“A lot of them are still in a bubble,” Gehrts said. “They haven’t come out to their families. College is where they’re out and that’s where they’re comfortable. Back home they don’t have a supportive family or they have them breathing down their throats.”
Senior President of 10 Percent Society Dianna Nguyen told very close friends that she was bisexual her sophomore year and then came out to everyone except for her immediate family and friends from home last year. Since being a part of 10 percent society, the Gay Lesbian Bisexual Transgender Alliance on campus, she has not only helped herself identify with her sexuality, but others as well in the GLBT community, she said.
“It’s also a very safe environment,” Nguyen said. “People feel comfortable asking and answering questions. It’s helped me get comfortable with myself.”
Nguyen said the 10 Percent Society helped her realize that not every person fits the same mold and she hopes all people can understand that.
“We’re just like everybody else,” Nguyen said. “We want to find someone to date and fall in love with, but it’s just harder for us.”
Dating is especially confusing for Nguyen, who does not exclusively identify with being gay, lesbian or straight. With her dating experiences, gay people think she is not gay enough, straight people are insecure and she has met very few bisexual people her age, she said.
Coming from a conservative and Catholic Vietnamese family has left her struggling with her resolve to come out to her family. Her uncle, who is gay, is one of few family members she has come out to. He was no longer accepted after he came out. Her family’s expectation for her to get married and have kids makes it harder to decide when and how to tell her family, Nguyen said.
“It was really hard for me to admit I’m bi,” Nguyen said. “I questioned, ‘well, is it just easier for me to date guys?’ But a part of me can’t. I can’t change that. I can’t just narrow my search to just one gender.”
Nguyen said the environment at USD is very open, but the options are slim because the GLBT community is still relatively small compared to her hometown in the Twin Cities area. A large part of why people come to 10 Percent Society meetings is simply to meet others like themselves.
“People come to see who’s out, who’s gay, who’s single, and who’s good-looking,” Nguyen said. “That’s the reality of it. The options are very limited.”
Senior Christopher Kost transferred to USD a year and a half ago from South Dakota State University. He came out to his parents four months ago and since then has been very happy to feel completely like himself. The environment at USD is much more open and accepting than the one he found at SDSU, Kost said.
“After coming down here to a liberal arts college, it was a lot nicer,” Kost said. “This is a better environment for me to be in. I’m happier here than I was at SDSU, and I do think the students here are a lot more open.”
Oviedo said Vermillion fosters a very welcoming and open environment for every person. Her hometown in Nebraska is a different story.
“They hate anything that is different and so I don’t like going back home and would rather just stay here,” Oviedo said. “It’s an actual community where everyone cares about everybody else. It’s very nice to be who you are here.”
Gehrts also finds USD to be a great environment for the GLBT community. He rarely has problems with people on campus, but common misconceptions still bother him such as the belief that the GLBT lifestyle is a choice, he said.
“If it was a choice, then none of us would choose to be this way,” Gehrts said. “It makes living so much more difficult. I love who I am and I’m okay with who I am, but if it was up to me, I wouldn’t put myself through all of this if I didn’t have to.”
19. Daily Trojan, March 6, 2009
USC Student Union 421, Los Angeles, CA 90089-0895
Proposition 8 questioned in state court
By Rohan Venkataramakrishnan
The debate surrounding Proposition 8 is back.
California’s Supreme Court heard arguments Thursday on the controversial constitutional amendment that defines marriage as being “only between a man and a woman.” The court will determine if the proposition should be upheld as an amendment and as constitutional. The court will also rule on whether the approximately 18,000 same-sex marriages performed before the passage of Prop 8 should remain valid.
The hearings, which were televised and webcast live, came on the heels of the state legislature voting in favor of HR5, an unbinding bill that questions the legality of Prop 8. Anti-Prop 8 protesters gathered across the state Wednesday and outside the Supreme Court Thursday to demonstrate for marriage equality.
The court, which includes the same roster of judges who ruled to allow same-sex marriages in May 2008, is expected to provide a ruling within 90 days.
Revision vs. Amendment
Gay rights lawyers argued that Prop 8 was a fundamental revision of the state’s constitution, rather than an amendment, which would have required a two-thirds legislative vote for it even to be placed on the ballot.
“The original petitioners are arguing that Prop 8 did not validly become part of the constitution,” said David B. Cruz, a USC professor of law.
According to Cruz, the constitution is ambiguous on the difference between revisions and amendments, but the essential contrast is that a revision is a fundamental change to the organizational structure of the government.
Kenneth Starr, the dean of Pepperdine University’s law school and a former Whitewater special prosecutor who defended the constitutionality of Prop 8 for the hearings, argued that the proposition was not actually changing the structure of the government, just applying the law in a targeted way.
But Cruz said the justices would be divided on the issue.
“I think, to take away the court’s ability to protect minority groups by a simple majority vote really does strip away the court’s authority to press for equality,” he said.
Preston Ames, co-founder of the USC Student Coalition for Marriage Equality and a junior majoring in political science, said he was optimistic that the argument would be persuasive and he hoped the Supreme Court would find Prop 8 to be a revision and not an amendment.
In contrast, Christopher Krueger, a representative from the California attorney general’s office, said before the court that the proposition was an amendment, not a revision. But, he argued, it still could not be added to the constitution because it took away people’s “inalienable rights” as defined by the constitution.
Starr disagreed, saying “one of the inalienable rights articulated in the constitution is control over the constitution.” Starr said that it was in the people’s power to amend the constitution, no matter how unwise their decision was.
Ben Myers, former chair of the USC College Republicans, said he felt the judges would have to see eye to eye with the public on this issue.
“The judges need to understand that the people have spoken their mind about this twice and that they will always have their voice,” he said.
According to Cruz, the attorney general’s argument has less precedent in California law than the argument for revision, making it much harder to get judicial support.
“One thing Dean Starr and the petitioners agree on, but the attorney general doesn’t, is that any rights can be taken away, especially for a particular group, with a simple majority,” Cruz said.
Caroline Sundermeyer, co-president of the USC Gay, Lesbian, Bi, Transgendered support group Ally Alliance and a sophomore majoring in international relations, and East Asian languages and cultures, said that argument couldn’t be restricted to simply one section of the population.
“If you’re going to stick your fingers in marriage, then you should do that across the board, not just for homosexuals,” she said.
The final matter discussed in the hearings was the validity of approximately 18,000 same-sex marriages that took place between the ruling in favor of gay marriage and the passage of Prop 8.
Starr said because the operative language of the proposition was in the present tense, once the proposition became an amendment, California could no longer recognize the marriages.
“According to Dean Starr, Prop 8 isn’t like an annulment,” Cruz said. “It’s more like a divorce.”
Cruz added that California has very strong case laws about retroactivity, with propositions such as these and also precedents concerning the protection of vested rights, since the same-sex couples were married when it was still legal.
Myers said he thought the marriages should be invalidated because they were “illegitimate.”
“Those marriages happened after four judges went rogue and didn’t listen to the people of California,” he said.
But Cruz said the court was unlikely to go down that path.
“I’m very confused as to what Ken Starr is asking of the court,” Cruz said. “If a majority of the court upholds the case that Proposition 8 was constitutional, then I think there will be a strong majority or even a unanimous decision to uphold those marriages.”
However the court rules, the decision will have far-reaching consequences, affecting not only the pro- and anti-gay marriage movements, but also precedents as to how the Supreme Court deals with civil rights, constitutional law and the relationship between Californians and their government.
While the court does not have to make a decision for three months, according to the Los Angeles Times, only two justices, suggested the court could overturn the marriage ban as an illegal constitutional revision, implying that the remaining five would be ready to uphold Proposition 8, as well as pronounce the 18,000 same-sex marriages that took place in the interim valid.
20. News Record, March 8, 2009
200 E. Market Street, Greensboro, NC 27401
ACC reluctant to acknowledge lesbian fans
By Robert Bell
GREENSBORO -- Donna George waited until the final day of spring break before sitting her parents down in the kitchen to reveal her secret. "Mom, Dad," she said, "I'm gay."
It's been 11 years since George, a devoted follower of women's basketball, came out. She hopes it's not as long before the ACC women's tournament does the same.
"If you look at it from a strictly business view, it makes perfect sense," said George, who lives in Columbia, S.C., and is attending this year's ACC women's tournament -- her fourth in as many years -- with her partner. "Anyone who thinks (lesbians) aren't a big asset to this (tournament) needs to check out all the bars this week and the restaurants we give our money to. It just makes sense that the league would want to see more of us at the games."
And, in fact, ACC officials want to see much more of basketball fans like George. Just don't expect the league to court them directly -- not any time soon, at least.
Eight years after the WNBA began acknowledging its growing lesbian fan base through advertising and marketing, women's college basketball remains largely indifferent to that demographic despite growing evidence that lesbians are a significant portion of the sport's fan base.
None of the major athletics conferences -- including the ACC -- markets its women's basketball tournament directly toward lesbians, and only a handful of individual colleges have recognized their lesbian fans publicly.
ACC officials last week said it markets its women's tournament to all fans of the sport, but would not discuss the tournament's support among lesbians.
That's not surprising, according to Pat Griffin, a former Maryland basketball player and author of the book, 'Strong Women, Deep Closets: Lesbians and Homophobia.'
"It's still something schools don't want to face," said Griffin, professor emeritus at the University of Massachusetts. "I think there's going to have to be a conference out there that does it first, and when they succeed others will follow."
It is impossible to know how many of the roughly 70,000 fans expected to take in this week's ACC women's tournament are gay.
Anecdotally, local business owners say the number is high. Greensboro bar owners whose clubs cater to gays and lesbians report a significant increase in business during the tournament's four-day run.
For the past two years, Greensboro promoter Cynthia Kelley has rented out Jabs Ultra Bar on West Lee Street for a huge party following Saturday's semifinal games.
Tickets aren't cheap -- $35 at the door -- but this year's party, sponsored by a lesbian travel company and featuring Suzanne Westenhoefer, billed as the first openly gay comedian, still attracted more than 1,000 women, Kelley said.
Kelley, a former Wake Forest basketball player, said the party was open to "anyone wanting to celebrate women's sports," but acknowledged that the event, like the tournament, has a significant lesbian fan base.
"There's no doubt in my mind (the tournament) is a big event for lesbians in North Carolina, but whether the ACC thinks that way I don't know," Kelley said.
Theories vary as to why women's basketball draws so many lesbians. George believes it's because many players are gay, but there has never been any surveys to support that claim.
Helen Carroll, sports project director for the National Center for Lesbian Rights, said recently that lesbians share the same passion for basketball as any other fan.
"It's exciting and a lot more accessible ticket-wise for a lot of women," said Carroll, a former head coach at UNC-Asheville.
For years the WNBA ignored its lesbian fan base before teams slowly began to advertise and market to them, albeit with mixed results. That business model never trickled down to the collegiate level, where most schools and conferences treat the topic as taboo out of fear, gay and lesbian advocates say, of driving away the sport's traditional fan base of older adults and families with young children.
When a News & Record reporter requested an interview to discuss the league's support among lesbians with ACC associate commissioner Nora Lynn Finch, who oversees the women's tournament, conference officials asked that the questions be e-mailed in advance.
Finch responded to general questions about the tournament's fan base, but declined to answer specific questions about the tournament's lesbian fan base.
"Our marketing efforts have been consistent for many years and are really driven toward all fans that want to watch what we think is the best college basketball in the country," Finch wrote. "We continue to (target) youth groups, in order to cultivate the young fan."
In many ways, that strategy is working. Now in its 10th year in Greensboro, the tournament has set attendance records for seven consecutive years.
On Friday, 13,599 fans watched UNC's quarterfinal victory over Clemson. The crowd was a mix you'd never see at the more-exclusive ACC men's tournament: children from area schools, dads with their teenaged daughters, entire families, retired couples.
And lesbians. Alone, in couples and in large groups of friends.
"It's nice to just walk around the concession stand and see thousands of other women just like you," said Lisa McGehee, 46, of Greensboro.
As successful as the women's tournament has been in terms of attendance, Griffin and others believe it would do even better if officials would target lesbians in their marketing.
"It seems to me it makes no sense economically not to market to every part of your fan base," Griffin said. "The object is to put fans into seats, isn't it?"
Contact Robert Bell at 373-7055 or robert.bell @news-record.com
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